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LIVE REVIEW: The Experience of Snoop Dogg in San Diego

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg
Courtesy Seedless Clothing

Since I’m not a pot smoker, the whole 420 celebrations on 4/20 never did much for me. I’ve been to a few parties where they were celebrating the occasion. Think of it like Christmas – but where the wreaths aren’t hung on the doors, but smoked. Instead, Stomp was in town at the Balboa Theatre, and I went to check that out. It’s tribal rhythms for the industrial age.

Down through history, people have seemed to find lots of ways to make music. In this, they’re using things that would surround a janitor. They started with brooms, doing some interesting things banging those on the ground. What I found odd was that stuff kept breaking. And the choreography of replacing that when something broke was fascinating. Somebody in the back would throw a new broom to someone off stage, who would throw it to the person that needed it. The brooms being used would sweep the broken pieces off the stage. It’s as if the stage hands were performing. They’d use big sticks and occasional martial arts moves. Folding metal chairs were used creatively. They would drag them across the stage, bang them on the ground, and the unfolding would create another noise. Such interesting use of percussions. They did some things where no props were used, just stomping on the ground and slapping their thighs. There was a point in the show where small sticks were used. At the end, the trash can lids were used. I was surprised by the amount of humor incorporated into the show, similar to the way the Blue Man Group does. You’ll never look at a folding chair the same way again.

After the show, I walked around the corner to catch the Snoop Dogg show at 4th & B. A perfect way to conclude 420, is watching a rapper known for his use of the 'chronic.'

Seedless Clothing was throwing this event to celebrate the counter culture holiday. There was a bus around the corner from the event, giving some grape/pomegranate juice that was mixed with Colt 45. There were food booths set up outside, one with donuts and other snacks for anyone getting the munchies. I’ve never smelled so much pot in my life.

That includes the time Willie Nelson played 4th & B about five years ago. The police jumped on Nelson’s tour bus; the door swung open with more marijuana smoke wafting out then I thought possible. The cops didn’t seem to mind that – they were after a guy that wanted his guitar autographed, who ran onto the bus. The cops quickly left the tour bus because Grease was letting out at the theatre across the street, and a few people started screaming; that was because a homeless guy had died on the sidewalk. It was hard to believe that the scene I was seeing on 4/20 was even crazier than that night.

There were some local paparazzi. One being a guy in a wheelchair that I thought would have trouble getting his shots. He stood up when he needed to, though. Another guy who once threatened to sue me because I wrote a story about the paparazzi following Britney Spears around when she played House of Blues downtown, and the photo I used had him and 20 other photographers. He claimed that calling him a paparazzi was defamation of character.

The conversations I’d hear people having were funny. One guy walked by telling his friend, “Let’s go smoke that bowl in the car, and come back for the show. Snoop isn’t going on until midnight.” Someone else said “There are a lot of hoochie mamas here.” The variety of shirts people had were interesting. There were two Obama shirts, one Black Panthers hoodie, and lots with sayings on them. One said “Smoke Weed Everyday.” There were lots of Lakers shirts.

It wasn’t just the go-go dancers that were on stage for the various bands. Women kept trying to get backstage, and they were constantly being turned away by security. Occasionally they’d cozy up to the right person that was with the band, and they’d be led backstage. One tall blonde came outside stumbling, and security told her she wouldn’t be allowed back in. She told one security guard she’d take him around the corner if he’d let her back in. He shook his head no.

Four women from National City were there. One of them said to her friends, “I can’t believe I’m pregnant, and standing out here on a weeknight stalking Snoop Dog. The news is going to have a report on me tomorrow saying, ‘Pregnant woman attacks Snoop’.”

Every 15 minutes, there’d either be a drunk or stoned person thrown out of the venue. One guy was supposedly fighting, and as three security guards brought him out the back door. He kept claiming he wasn’t involved in the fight. He said “Listen man, I paid $65 for my ticket. Why would I want to risk missing the show?” They argued for 30 minutes, and it finally ended with him yelling and pointing at various security guards -- “I’m going to get your name, and your name, and your name! This isn’t right. You can’t just throw me out. I’m gonna call the cops on all y’all!”

Aside from the various women, in the various states of undress, the photographers got their first glimpse at somebody famous. Rapper Xhibit, who also did the MTV show Pimp My Ride, showed up in a black Hummer with tinted windows. There were sneakers dangling from the rear-view mirror. A few people asked him for autographs and he smiled and told them “I don’t sign.” He did take photos with a few people. I asked him if he liked San Diego and he said “Hell yeah, man. SoCal, baby!” Couldn’t decide on the next question – asking him about the Nicolas Cage movie he did called Bad Lieutenant, or about the fact that he owed almost a million bucks in taxes last year. As I started to speak, a security guard poked me in the chest with his flashlight and said “Leave him the fuck alone, man!”

I took a puff of my cigar and stepped back. A few guys asked me if I had any cigars with weed in them. One guy gave me a cigar. He had three that he bought while traveling, and said they were really good. I brought my friend Doug to the show, who is a teacher, and wears glasses. I told him the crowd probably thought we were a couple of narcs. A few people left the building to grab a smoke, and were complaining Snoop Dogg hadn’t been on stage. I glanced at my cell phone and saw it was 11 p.m.

In 1995 the crowd waited until 2:45 a.m. for Blue Oyster Cult to hit the stage at Brick by Brick. And when Guns ‘N Roses played the Sports Arena in the early 90s, they went on around 3:00 a.m. I was wondering if Snoop would make it on stage while it was still 4/20.

It was an hour and a half later, and Xhibit was leaving the venue. He again refused to sign autographs, but slowly sauntered to his Hummer shaking hands with people. One person was filming him, and he made some hand gestures and had fun with the camera. A young rapper named Philly Phil had a stack of his CDs that he was handing out to people that worked with Snoop. I asked him if he was from Philadelphia. He said, “Nope. I’m from San Diego. Born and raised here.” Near the front of the venue, a rapper named Paco was selling his for $5. He’d tell people that would walk by “It’s a good deal. There’s some good stuff on here.” He was wearing a Chargers hat, and he told me that he was born and raised in Chula Vista.

Two fire marshalls showed up, and walked all around the building. There was a lot of chaos at the front door. People were screaming that they wanted to be let in, and security was trying to calm everybody down. One woman yelled that she’d been there since 7 p.m. and just went to her car to grab something. She was trying to get to security to show the stamp on her arm. Another guy was throwing his backpack around, saying his name should’ve been on a list. Another angry customer was demanding his money back from the box office. They said they weren’t giving refunds, and he screamed “I can’t wait here all night for Snoop Dogg. It’s after midnight! This is bullshit!” Other people wanted refunds for various reasons, and when told they weren’t going to get them, they started pounding on the glass. The box office soon covered up their area, and another woman yelling for her money back said “It’s a damn school night, yo! I’m leaving. You better give me my money back or I’m calling the cops!” I heard her calling the cops a few minutes later. She added, “You better also get an ambulance here because it’s going to get ugly.”

Four guys started playing dice on the wall, with lots of bills on the ground in front of them. I walked back around the venue, to where the backstage entrance was and saw a tour bus pull up. A crowd of about 40 fans now came over, hoping to get a glimpse of Snoop. It was around 12:25 a.m., and now 4/21. Snoop finally came out of the tour bus. He was shadowed by about 5 security guys from the venue and everyone applauded and yelled his name. He was wearing all black and had huge shades on. He’d occasionally smile, as he slowly walked to the steps of the backstage area. Snoop went on around 1:00 a.m. on 4/21 and played for about an hour.

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Venue: 4th and B, 401 B St, Suite 305, San Diego